Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay
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Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare's Macbeth
The main theses in Act 2 Scene 2 are good and evil, light and dark, ambition, time, clothing, blood, sleep and chaos and order. The whole atmosphere of Macbeth is one of violence horror and fear, and this atmosphere is accomplished by use of darkness. Darkness symbolizes chaos, evil, treachery, disorder and going against nature which is seen as the light, innocence or the good. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are creatures of the dark. The murder of the King is set at night; this immediately gives us a feeling of foreboding. The noises of the night, the shriek of the owl and the eerie noise of the crickets that herald death, increases the tension as Lady…show more content…
However he has murdered a sleeping, innocent man. He says:-
“Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep- the innocent sleep
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care”.
He realizes that now that he has murdered the king he will no longer sleep the refreshing sleep of the innocent. This leaves us in suspense wondering what form this sleeplessness will take. It also sets the scene for the later references to sleep. For example where Lady Macbeth walks in her sleep acting out the kings murder and Macbeths nightmares.
Another major theme is that if uncontrolled ambition triumphs over what is right and good then the person is doomed. It is Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambition that leads to their later downfall. The scene begins with Lady Macbeth nervously waiting for her husbands return from killing the King. This is the first sign that she has a conscience; this will come to haunt her later. However when Macbeth enters her ambitious nature takes control and she calmly tells him to wash away the blood truing to dismiss his fears.
“This deed must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.”
This gives us a feeling of foreboding that her ambition will eventually bring madness.
Blood and murder are also major themes. They add to the suspense and horror of the play.
SCENE II. A room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and Attendants
Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending.Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so call it,
Sith nor the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was.What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of: I entreat you both,
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And sith so neighbour'd to his youth and havior,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time:so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.
Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you;
And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres.If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile,
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz:
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changed son. Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
Heavens make our presence and our practises
Pleasant and helpful to him!
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and some Attendants
The ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.
Thou still hast been the father of good news.
Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege,
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king:
And I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do, that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
Give first admittance to the ambassadors;
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.
I doubt it is no other but the main;
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
Well, we shall sift him.
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS
Welcome, my good friends!
Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your highness: whereat grieved,
That so his sickness, age and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give the assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee,
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein further shown,
Giving a paper
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance
As therein are set down.
It likes us well;
And at our more consider'd time well read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime we thank you for your well-took labour:
Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together:
Most welcome home!
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS
This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
More matter, with less art.
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus. Perpend.
I have a daughter--have while she is mine--
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this: now gather, and surmise.
'To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; 'beautified' is
A vile phrase:but you shall hear. Thus:
'In her excellent white bosom, these, & c.'
Came this from Hamlet to her?
Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.
'Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
'O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers;
I have not art to reckon my groans:but that
I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
'Thine evermore most dear lady, whilst
This machine is to him, HAMLET.'
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me,
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means and place,
All given to mine ear.
But how hath she
Received his love?
What do you think of me?
As of a man faithful and honourable.
I would fain prove so.But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing--
As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me--what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
If I had play'd the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star;
This must not be:'and then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repulsed--a short tale to make--
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.
Do you think 'tis this?
It may be, very likely.
Hath there been such a time--I'd fain know that--
That I have positively said 'Tis so,'
When it proved otherwise?
Not that I know.
[Pointing to his head and shoulder]
Take this from this, if this be otherwise:
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.
How may we try it further?
You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.
So he does indeed.
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter: if he love her not
And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.
We will try it.
But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
Away, I do beseech you, both away:
I'll board him presently.
Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, and Attendants
Enter HAMLET, reading
O, give me leave:
How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Do you know me, my lord?
Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Not I, my lord.
Then I would you were so honest a man.
Honest, my lord!
Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be
One man picked out of ten thousand.
That's very true, my lord.
For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog,being a
God kissing carrion,--Have you a daughter?
I have, my lord.
Let her not walk i' the sun: conception is a
Blessing: but not as your daughter may conceive.
Friend, look to 't.
How say you by that? Still harping on my
Daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I
Was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and
Truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for
Love; very near this. I'll speak to him again.
What do you read, my lord?
Words, words, words.
What is the matter, my lord?
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here
That old men have grey beards, that their faces are
Wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and
Plum-tree gum and that they have a plentiful lack of
Wit, together with most weak hams:all which, sir,
Though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet
I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down,for
Yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
You could go backward.
[Aside]Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
Into my grave.
Indeed, that is out o' the air.
How pregnant sometimes his replies are! a happiness
That often madness hits on, which reason and sanity
Could not so prosperously be delivered of.I will
Leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of
Meeting between him and my daughter.--My honourable
Lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will
More willingly part withal: except my life, except
My life, except my life.
Fare you well, my lord.
These tedious old fools!
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
You go to seek the Lord Hamlet; there he is.
[To POLONIUS] God save you, sir!
My honoured lord!
My most dear lord!
My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?
As the indifferent children of the earth.
Happy, in that we are not over-happy;
On fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Nor the soles of her shoe?
Neither, my lord.
Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of
'Faith, her privates we.
In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true; she
Is a strumpet. What's the news?
None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
Then is doomsday near:but your news is not true.
Let me question more in particular: what have you,
My good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune,
That she sends you to prison hither?
Prison, my lord!
Denmark's a prison.
Then is the world one.
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
Wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.
We think not so, my lord.
Why, then, 'tis none to you;for there is nothing
Either good or bad, but thinking makes it so:to me
It is a prison.
Why then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis too
Narrow for your mind.